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What is an MPQ Editor?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

An MPQ editor is a computer software program that allows a user to access and edit MPQ files to alter existing content or create new content for a number of different personal computer (PC) games. These types of programs are typically used by fans of a game to access the files used in creating that game, then manipulate those files to create original content to share with other fans. An MPQ editor is typically used only with specific games that use the MPQ file format and the altered files are often made available for free download on the Internet.

The MPQ file format was created for use by Blizzard Entertainment® and has been used in designing its games since the first Diablo® game. Since then, it has typically been used for major game files for all released games, including World of Warcraft®. Many players enjoy modifying, or “modding,” these games to create their own campaigns or unique game play experiences using the tools provided with the game.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

An MPQ editor allows a person to manipulate the core game files, including the models used to create the graphics. Someone using this type of MPQ editor is able to open and access these files and then alter them to change how the game is played or looks. While this is typically done to create new gaming experiences, it can also be done to hack into or cheat in a game.

This makes an MPQ editor a powerful tool for someone looking to create original content for a game released by Blizzard Entertainment®, but it can also be used to access game files intended to remain unseen. When used with single player PC games, these types of MPQ editors often allow a person to create unique content. Using an MPQ editor to change aspects of an online game, however, can break the End User License Agreement (EULA) for a game.

The EULA typically allows a company to ban players from online games for cheating or otherwise manipulating a game in ways unintended by the game designers. This means that care should be taken by anyone considering using an MPQ editor for an online game or to alter aspects of a multiplayer game that accesses a company’s servers. Someone should also be aware that the contents of MPQ files are typically considered the intellectual property of the game’s creators, and changes made to a game usually cannot legally be used to make a game or mod for resale.

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